‘I remember a time during the riots when two girls attending the University were conducting research in the library for their term papers. It was late afternoon when they emerged from the impervious rock fortress out into a campus, stilled as in death. Suddenly, a helicopter splintered the air and dived straight down upon them, dousing them with tear gas. The
girls quickly sought relief from the burning chemicals in a drinking fountain, then groped their way towards their residence. On the way, they were accosted by truckloads of National Reservists, who screamed unjust accusations and vicious vulgarities at them.
‘The lesson these girls learned is a precious one… No matter how we isolate ourselves from the grit and fury of life… by our actions, by our location in space…by virtue of our mere existence… we are involved, we must take sides. Lack of action displays a volition of the Will as visibly as action itself. There is volition in default. In this age all action or inaction has context. One cannot plead ignorance. Nowadays information is rife. One cannot plead irrelevancy. The issues strike at the vitals of life, at the vitals of history. You are of the Struggle.. one side or the other… by reason of your birth. Your are involved … by virtue of the breath you draw!’
The alarm tones went off announcing to the world… to its world … to Omicron… that it was already eight o’clock. Omicron blindly reached for the switch. His time was short. Steve would have to have his decision by one o’clock. He shaved hastily, changed his clothes, and headed out into the blinding Light. Clouds in the sky floated in a ring around the periphery of his field of vision in every direction. Blue sky was a ceiling above… and Light poured down… upon his head. He was wearing a small knapsack with a prepacked lunch for the climb and the important challenge ahead.
He took off northwards… on a trail through the grasses along the shore of the Bay… then he surged westwards into the gap in the hills claimed by the lagoon where the tribal recreation center stood. He could have continued on an easy path into the inland valleys where affluent City “suits” used to live in smug A-frame houses worth a fortune… Instead he turned north and strained into the traces of trail upwards…winding along the sides of mounds piled in miles of elevation, that zig-zagged up, up along the other side of hills he had climbed the previous time…up, up, up until he reached the base of what would eventually become the mountain peak… several times he crossed the remains of a highway that in yesteryear snaked its way around the mountain…to the ocean located on the ‘other side.’
After an hour Omicron was wet with perspiration, but his developing limbs were invigorated by the exercise and the cool air. He continued slowly past the first bank of hills and then up into the second… each bank of prominences presenting challenges of its own… smaller rises equal in importance to the larger… as he continued to climb.
At the top of the second tier of rising earth he stopped and ate his lunch. It was quiet here… except for small animals scurrying in the grass and wild flowers… and the sound of deer daintily picking their way through live oak residing in dark clumps mid fields of blue lupine and golden poppies.
Then he was back at his task… leaving the crumbling road, he crisscrossed up the side of the third elevation… towards the sky… taking care to avoid areas of potential slides and steep slopes as the climb became progressively more challenging.
Around ten o’clock, he reached the top of this third elevation of rounded masses of earth… This was all he would have time for… for today. Before him… above him… rose the peak… to the clouds. Looking below… he could see the banks of hills that stood as steps upwards… upwards, upwards… to the threshold of the exalted thrust to the heavens.
Omicron stood… his face into the wind… arms outstretched… to the peak.
Which way should I go? What path should I take?… he beseeched to the ultimate reaches of the universe.
Then he knew. The decision was foregone. His subconscious had already made the choice. In fact, this subconscious decision had already guided his feet and had emerged periodically in his speech and behavior during the past few days. Still, his rational mind had to face the reality in the decision. His rational mind would have to assume the responsibility, accept the implications of this decision… for carrying out the horrendous, unthinkable tasks the decision implied.
Yes, he would stay. But if there were only some other way. Why did they have to fight this stupid war anyway?
The he realized that he was not staying because the task was easy. He was staying because it was the Right thing to do. It was Right, because it was the only way for him to continue climbing… to continue growing. It was Right because the community needed him. The community was in a desperate Struggle with forces outside it.
To live in accordance with both the Law of the Love and the Law of Will… he must exert his Will… develop his potentialities, and expand his command over the matter without… in order to help preserve the primal band… his community of Love.
Omicron understood that one must not only study universal Laws… one must Live them. One must be aware of the Laws of Truth and Goodness and of the Forces which energize these Laws. One must also understand the Laws of falsity and evil… and understand where they inevitably lead…falsity and evil are not capitalized in documents…because they do not exist…they are merely the absence…of Truth…the absence…of Goodness…if one is not schooled in the archetypal forms of the Cosmos….then for them falsity and evil do not exist…they exist only in the shadow of Cosmic verity…A mind without Light…has nothing to guide his or her feet…..If one has never seen the Light…he or she…is not looking…for it…..
However, further progress is impossible… until one makes a choice… this is the essence of Free Will… this is the crux of the matter… this is where man and woman the animal… meets the mind of the universe…. Man and woman can choose the destiny that will be theirs… Yes they are free!… until the decision is made… once a crucial decision is made… outcomes are inevitable… given the inevitabilities inherent in the Laws of the Cosmos…
Matter is Struggle… Expansion, motion, energy… contesting, wriggling, fighting within the constraints of Law.. with impacts and in configurations intrinsic to the patterns of cause and effect… Man and woman must contemplate the depths of this Law… and then act in accordance with that knowledge… if continual ascension is to be won.
Before Omicron’s eyes appeared a vision of an ancient… at a crossroads … it was the symbol of Cosmic step 6… Ordeal.
The voice of his father thundered in his mind:
‘Life is a continual struggle between the passions… which are the energizing of matter… Passions are of the plant/animal sphere…invaluable for reproduction and survival….However, man and woman are given more…from the sphere of the Cosmos…Man and woman possess a conscience… which is the Will of mind armed with knowledge concerning Cosmic Law.’ It is mind armed…with knowledge…of the absence of Light.
Omicron understood that for most people … short-run pleasures and ‘vice were a greater attraction than virtue’… were a more attractive choice… compared to tasks which may be painful, exhausting… but which will ultimately result in joy and happiness. If one is to continue his or her progress… resolutions and decisions made in the past must not be forgotten, but forever be perpetuated and defended. The way ahead would not be easy. ‘Obstacles bar the road to happiness; contrary influences hover around you; your Will vacillates between opposing sides.’ However, one must never turn back. Each crossroads must be confronted with courage and meditation. And in the end, a decision must be made… right or wrong… and action taken. ‘In all things indecision is more fatal than the wrong choice. Advance or retreat, but never hesitate.’
Steve often told of the traditions that Love Song Band adhered to…at least in story… about the tales of initiation young men supposedly endured in ancient Egypt. At the age of eight, the sons of the rulers were led underground where they stayed for twenty-two years… or for the rest of their lives… depending upon how successfully they were able to progress through various stages of an ordered and sequential education. The men who emerged at the age of thirty… were pure, intelligent, mentally powerful, and capable rulers… as no others could pass the tests necessary to climb up out of the cool, introspective darkness below… to stand in the scorching, blinding Light of the desert…of Life…
At maturation there was a test of initiation that could immediately condemned many to instant death…They were told, told, told everything they would be needing… then sexual awakening occurred in mind and sinews… passion confronted obedience…
In the test of initiation…there was one crucial moment…It was the test of the chain of flowers. The entire initiation lasted several hours…and presented many challenges… After having used his brain and courage to find hidden passages, climb along narrow ledges, and endure severe confinement, the aspirant was made to feel that he was succeeding… that he had passed many of the hardest tests… He was bathed in oil and clothed in a tunic of fine cloth woven with silver and gold… He was allowed to lie on a luxurious bed in a perfectly appointed bedroom… young maidens desirable, sensuous simply because of the fecundity of youth… entered wearing nothing but silken, see-through gowns… who danced enticingly about him… soon to entwine him with a chain of flowers. The aspirant was expected to respond instantly… and order the young things on their way… and best… to break the chain of flowers….
If the boy made one motion towards the girls in passion… he was instantly struck dead by an immense guard with an ax hidden in the flowing drapery.
Clearly… a chain of flowers could be more difficult to break… than a chain of iron. Once the Will is in command of the passions of one’s body, all obstacles can be overcome. Omicron knew that the man at the crossroads represented the sixth Cosmic step towards the heavens… and now he would have to accept the consequences of his decision… remain in command of his destiny… as he strove to progress upwards…upwards….
Steve beamed and gave Omicron a substantial, muscular thump on his back.
‘You will be a lieutenant in the forces, and you have now committed yourself to a Life of leadership and command. You will have a squadron of five men. You will assist women, children, and evacuating men in loading their luggage onto the mag and in any other way to assist their departure. You will be in Beta Company…under the command of Captain Meadowlark… Anthony’s father. I probably won’t see you much until this thing is over. Remember, keep your eye on the Crown of the Magi. Good luck.’
Never had Omicron felt so alone. The affectionate relationships of the community were now solidifying into the medieval bureaucratic structure of the war machine. He would be fighting with friends and relatives by his side, which would help, of course. However, the sweet bliss of childhood was gone with one swipe. The sanctuary from the cares of the world which the music academy had promised him… was gone now.
I was just trying to avoid growing up, thought Omicron, with his jaw tightly placing teeth against teeth. From now on… he was his own man.
Soon the doors of the mag slammed shut. The mag eased out from the community loading area… quickly speeding to a cruising velocity of 500 miles per hour.
Omicron’s community was gone, now… However… strangely, he forgot about being alone. He had his work to do… and the work was for the community.
Sylvia and Jason would be with Aura’s family… and he would not be with the girl of his dreams…somehow, he began to feel confident that if he worked hard during the next few days… he would see more of the girl with ‘the golden crown’ at some point… in the future.
Captain Meadowlark looked across the faces of his lieutenants.
. ‘Well now… some of you have had no training. Most have had little.
All I can say is that the communities are depending on us. The enemy is close. We aren’t sure exactly where they are going or what precisely they are up to. We do know their primary objective is the City.
‘The other companies from the north will be here tomorrow. When they are here… they will join the First Division and bolster the City’s defenses…there are only about 600 troopers there now. The Second Battalion will try to cut the enemy down or at least slow them down before they get to the City. The problem is that the enemy is scattered along a 100-mile horizontal line as they move south.
‘It is our mission to spread out to the north and northeast of the Bay to intercept the enemy in man to man guerrilla-type combat. The only thing in our favor is that those mobsters haven’t had much training or experience either.’
Meadowlark knelt and stabbed his right index finger into a map which was already showing signs of wear.
‘Now the First Battalion of the Second Division will guard the entrance into the northern peninsula from a point here. They will be located about sixty miles to the north of where we are now and try to divert the enemy to the east along the northern edge of the Bay…where the Second Battalion of the Second Division with its five companies…that’s us…will be positioned and hopefully be able to help handle them. We can’t expect reserves from the rest of the country until next week.
‘We move out tonight.’
At CASTLE headquarters in Seattle, Dizzy Demesne was left with a skeleton crew. His viewphone buzzed… he punched the receive button. Scar Liege’s perspiring face was visible from time to time sent from a portable transmitter.
‘We’ll be at the Bay tomorrow, boss. We’ve been goin’ as fast as we kin since they spotted us. What are we supposed to do when we get there?’
Demesne looked at 50 monitors lighted with pictures streamed from leaders moving with their men southwards.
‘There will probably be some heat when you get near the Bay. I want you to get half of your troops together quickly when you are ten miles north of the Bay and blast through anybody you meet. The other half will stay far to the north along the mag line. The first half will be goin’ to the regional yacht harbor and marine complex on the north end of the Bay. There are 150 to 200 power boats there, 20 to 40 feet long. I want you to get all the boys you can in ’em and take off for the City. Once they are on the water have ’em spread out ‘n get movin’.
‘When you are on the other side of the Bay… get as close to the City as you can… as fast as you can… Then use your maps… find where the mag tracks are that go under the mouth of the Bay… use your lazer digger… dig down til you find the tunnel and cut the tracks… when that is done I’ll send the other half of the guys blasting down from the north through the tube all the way south to the City…
‘There’re about 500 to 600 soldiers inside the City. Wait for the boys to work their way though the tunnel to your location… have your boys ready inside… ready to move with them and end this thing quick!
‘Good luck. You’ve got to get across the Bay with as many boys as possible.’
The troops pushed off that evening. The machinery shook the hillsides as it was placed into freight mags for immediate deployment to the north. The men were moved in mass thereafter. The First Battalion was dropped off first… left to guard an area just north of the Bay. The lush, verdant hills and peaceful, meandering streams belied the fact of the Life and death Struggle ahead. The battalion on the western flank were to push the enemy to the east and keep them from heading straight to the City by way of the northern peninsula…which stood between the ocean and the Bay. The Second Division that Omicron was in was determined to keep the enemy off the peninsula for its own reasons, as an enemy march down the peninsula would probably result in the destruction of their homes at the tribal sites.
The companies in the Second Battalion were setting up to confront the enemy to the north of the Bay…deploying barb wire and digging fox holes as had been done in what now seemed to be an ancient past. However, these tactics were now backed up by the laser, ion, and neutron artillery…whose assistance was mostly theoretical as they were very difficult to use in guerrilla conflict. The nearest enemy were approximately a day’s hike away and the advanced groups were expected to be encountered the next afternoon. The battalion was spread over sixty miles in a line from west to east…The men made their campfires, cooked their ocean algae soup, and devoured their protein supplements which were light to carry, but were packed with the nutrients and energy they would require.
After the meal, there was nothing to do but wait. Omicron lay back on his pack and looked at the dimming sun. The sky was covered completely with black clouds save for where the sun peeked its last over the mountain. Tomorrow might be the beginning of the end… for me… for our way of Life… Omicron thought. Very easily this could and probably will be the case. Perhaps the Powers of the universe… which Dad is always talking about… can really change those odds. Omicron smiled with admiration for his father whose life embodied, demonstrated… the virtues and possibilities which these Cosmic Powers possessed. Time and again Steve had fought with the United Nations command and had escaped injury where slaughter was rife… He had been able to move his men with such great effect that it seemed to be magic.
Perhaps some day, I too may be like him. If I am… he chuckled to himself… I’ll be the first general to bring along his piano.
As the sun shone its last, Omicron’s thoughts turned to Life and death. Omicron was not afraid of death itself. It will be like sleep. What I wonder about is my role in the universe, he thought. I have certain talents and abilities… I can give the world new knowledge, music, ideas. How beneficial and important are these potential talents and ideas to the world? At what point is it unwise…perhaps even unjust… to jeopardize these potential products and abilities?
This fight indeed was to the death. The enemy is striving to destroy our way of Life. Thus, such exposure of my Life to the quirks and destructive forces in the universe is necessary. But if I am killed, what a waste. And such a waste of any other Lives lost, too.
But in the end… is this thinking valid? The machines which have been invented, probably would have been invented in some shape or other anyway in the inexorable development of man and woman’s tools. The songs which are sung are as individual as the singers… and very few will be lasting contributions to the world.
If I don’t write music or conduct research… someone else will. But if my creative potential is worthless… then why should I Live at all? For it is my creative energies and the possibility of my making a creative physical, intellectual, and Cosmic contribution to the world… from which all joy and happiness in my Life flows. If this creativity is useless or merely doing that which would be done anyway then I am truly fooling myself… and there is in reality no reason for Living.
It began to sprinkle now… and Omicron moved with the others to the shelter of their tents. How strange this Life is… he thought. It’s sure worth the experience… he chuckled. And this is True, he thought… even if it is merely matter talking to itself. Matter, which is psychologically happy. This ludicrous idea caused him to snicker.
But if Life is worth the trouble, if much joy and happiness can be derived from it… and if much benefit can be transferred from one individual to society by means of the creative potentialities he has… then is he justified in jeopardizing his Life in the fury of battle?
‘Yes,’ the answer came. Beyond the fact that this was a battle to preserve the precious Life they had… there were also the benefits to be derived from the Struggle itself. What ideas is a person to possess concerning the greatest forces in Life… if he has not experienced great events… has not faced the abyss of death… experienced the physical ecstasy of vanquishing the enemy in order to preserve one’s family and community?
What is there to sing of… if a man has done nothing of consequence in his Life… if he has not an idea in his head… if he has not sailed the seas… done a variety of different kinds of work… yes, even risked these abilities in a struggle to the death?
If he is killed… much will be wasted, it is true. But this is the waste of war in general… It was almost racist to think that he was more worth saving than anyone else… Forget real race… his world no longer had this physiological reference any more… Each I looking out thinks, knows that it is special… just by virtue of its ‘looking out’…The major Truth given to man and woman from the Cosmos… from his or her I inside him or her… is that… all ‘I’s are Equal… and a Just, True world replicates this Cosmic Truth.
It is the waste of war that is so abominating… so egregious in its outcome… that it had been abolished from the face of the earth… But more than that… it is the injustice, the inequality of war… by what Right do you… just one I.. think you have the right to extinguish a Life of another human being… I’s are eternal… you are not extinguishing existence… only Life… which is plant… an animal is plant… plus I… You are not a god… There was a god of the Big Bang when all I’s were one… You were once One… with all I’s about you… All those I’s were like a god…flashing back and forth from One…to many…Now on earth in the knowledge of this Cosmic Truths…you are physically brother and sister with all other I’s …brother and sister with every bit of Life that is about you… In the sphere of the Cosmos…the Truth is…there is an I in every atom… you have no Right, no ability to extinguish anything… save configurations of molecules… and if this configuration of molecules is a human being… you have no Right… to kill… another!
A crash shook the tent and Omicron was jarred from the drowsy semi-consciousness into which he had momentarily slipped. Rain was pouring forth from the heavens in sheets. The night sky was fractured by brilliant writhing flashes of lightning alternating with crashing thunder. The Cosmos is no doubt sick with the enemy… thought Omicron… and is attempting to purge itself of disease.
Omicron sat in the darkness of his tent looking out at the exploding night. As he gazed, he began to hear in his mind the voices of the community as they had sung the Sunday before. Not when the choir sang. That was nice and all. But when the entire community sang. Their singing wasn’t like hymn-singing in a church. It wasn’t like the singing of old war songs at a potluck dinner. In the modern primal band… community singing was of the rare kind which used to be sung in the primitive tribes of Africa. It was the lifting up of one spirit, one voice, one organism. It was as one family singing around the fireplace, singing songs which some of them had written, others they had not written, but which were their favorites.
There were songs too, of celebration which were sung as sort of a ritual on certain occasions for which all parts were sung. There was a Beauty at such moments… that was felt… of communal praise and joy… which could never be recorded.
Then there were the songs of the universe, of the Cosmos. Again not like a church. But like a family standing naked in the rain. Lifting their hearts to the primal beauty of it all. They were One with the earth. They were content with their place. They were filled with the joy ad happiness which a creative life could bring. They were One flesh… in the body… in the blood… of the primal band.
These thoughts comforted Omicron in the damp blackness. I want to capture that spirit, that joy, that community… in my songs, he thought. I must compel the singers to be more than individuals in a choir. The singers must be filled with the ultimate energies of Life. The words must express a philosophy which is so essential to man and woman that all who sing and all who hear will melt into a pulsing, throbbing Oneness, into one positive statement of affirmation of Life and of Love.
Our new age…has returned to the music of the primal band. The chorus of family. The songs of communal joy and affirmation. The incessant beating of the drums by bare-chested, perspiring men. The dancing of young men and women in colorful costumes… in dynamic designs of dance… all consistent with the energy of the music… and which in its harmonies… in its sustained evocation… conveys the messages… the Power… of the Cosmos.
This was his work… and even as hard as he had been exerting effort… he had not been doing it… he had not been doing his work… and unless he accepted the challenges before him… and triumphed… his Life would not be worth saving… His songs… would not be worth singing. And as for death… Yes, killing another person seemed to violate eternal Law…eternal morality…Yet is it not the Truth…that all plant/animal Life…is predicated upon death?…Yes, Nature is wonderfully in equilibrium…all if in balance…However, that balance…is rendered by one group of animals eating other animals…or eating plants…only plants eat Light…and god knows if there was Cosmic violation in eating the I’s…within that Cosmic energy!….
The fires hissed as the raindrops spattered in the pits. All of his challenges were now laid out before him. He would fight for his woman. He would fight for the fevered, bright-colored, whirling images in his mind of his community singing and dancing. He would fight to develop the creative energies required to create the highest art.
He would fight to expand the limits of his Will. He would fight to expand and demonstrate the Love he had for the world and his people. He would fight, because it was consistent with Eternal Law… and with the primal beast. He would fight because he was… Homo sapiens!.